The Poorest Counties in Every State in America
In total, more than 15% of the population lived in poverty in 2010, the highest percentage since 1993, according to the most recent data from the Census Bureau. To put that in perspective, that means more than 46 million people fell below the poverty line, defined as $22,314 for a family of four. If you factor in the income spent on expenses like medical costs, child care and mortgage payments, the number of Americans whose remaining income falls below the poverty line is closer to 50 million, or roughly 16% of the population .
As severe as this sounds, some regions in the U.S. are much worse off. In November, the census released a breakdown of the poverty rate in every county in the U.S. in 2010, which showed dozens of counties where more than a third of the population lives in poverty and a handful whose overall poverty rates were closer to 50%.
MainStreet combed through the data to find the county in each state with the highest poverty rate. Here they are, listed alphabetically by state with census data on the childhood poverty rate and the median household income included.
The Poorest County in Alabama: Wilcox
The jobless rate in the South is higher than the national average at more than 9%. The median annual income of residents of this rural county between Montgomery and Mobile is less than half of the national median income. The county's high school graduation rate of 71.1% also trails Alabama's 80.8% average.
Poverty Rate: 39.6%
Poverty Rate of Kids Under 18: 52.5%
Median Household Income: $21,611
The Poorest County in Alaska: Wade Hampton Census Area
Located more than 300 miles west of Anchorage, this area of Alaska has a population that is by and large Alaska Native persons. The Wade Hampton census area is 95% American Indian and Alaska Native persons, a much higher percentage than the state, which has American Indians and Alaska Native persons making up about 14.8% of its population. Wade Hampton also has relatively small housing costs, with the med ian value of owner-occupied housing units at $80,300.
Poverty Rate: 34.1%
Poverty Rate of Kids Under 18: 46%
Median Household Income: $30,883
The Poorest County in Arizona: Apache
Another county with a large population of American Indians, Apache county has the 14th highest poverty rate of the counties on our list. Apache county is quite rural, with only 6.4 people per square mile. The terrain is quite beautiful as the county is home to Petrified Forest National Park and Apache National Forest. If you've been to the Four Corners and stood on the Arizona side of that monument, you were standing in Apache.